Money Diary: A Charity Worker In Nottingham On 26k

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
This week: "I'm a 26-year-old children and young people coordinator for a domestic abuse charity in Nottingham. I split my time between working from home, the office and in schools. It can be stressful at times but I absolutely love my job. I’ve lived and worked here for two years now and have been navigating figuring out how to be an adult since then. I recently went through a very sudden and unexpected breakup, which not only left me completely heartbroken but also in a pretty rough financial situation as we’d been living together and splitting all living costs equally."
Occupation: Children and young people coordinator
Industry: Charity
Age: 26
Location: Nottingham
Salary: £25,894
Paycheque amount: £1,692
Number of housemates: One: my cat, G (unfortunately he doesn’t pay any bills).
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £575 rent.
Loan payments: £24 postgraduate loan (this comes out of my paycheque).
Pension? I pay in 5% and my employer pays in 3%. I have no idea how much I have in there though.
Savings? Hahaha if only. I’m currently trying to get out of my overdraft.
Utilities: £115 council tax, £31 TV and Wi-Fi, £52.07 water, £85 gas and electricity, £13.25 TV licence.
All other monthly payments: £25 phone bill, £50 overdraft interest, £9.35 prescription medication. Subscriptions: £19.99 swimming membership, £85 allotment (yearly).
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I did a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. I received the full student loan, maintenance grant and a bursary for being from a low-income family. I also always had at least one job alongside my studies. I then had a career development loan for my master’s. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I don’t really remember having many conversations around money but I do remember feeling stressed about it from a young age. Looking back, I have no idea how my parents managed on a fairly low income with three children and making sure we were always provided for but they did and we rarely went without. 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out for university aged 18, then moved back for about a year when I finished my master’s at 22. I’ve now been living on my own for just over two years.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I’m not sure that I could call myself totally financially independent. I know that if I desperately needed to fall back on them, my family would be there for me. My mum very kindly helped me to pay off the remainder of my career development loan about a year ago so that I wouldn’t keep building up interest on it, and loaned me some money when my cat needed an operation. I had been paying her back for both of these loans monthly but she has (again, very kindly) recently let me pause this for a while as I’m in a bit of a difficult money situation. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I’m not sure I can count it as my first job but I did a paper round for a week when I was about 14. I quit after someone spat at me out of their car. Joy. I then got a job working in M&S over the Christmas period when I was 16 and have pretty much always had a job since.
Do you worry about money now?
Every single day. My main aim at the moment is to get out of my overdraft and then I'm looking forward to starting to save some money. I don’t have aspirations of being mega rich but it would be amazing to reach a time where I don’t have to worry about money. 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
When my nan passed away about two and a half years ago, she left me around £2,000. I used this to help with my move to Nottingham. 

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series